A £798 Million Maths Mistake

The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has struck out a complex claim worth only £83 as an abuse of process in the case of Lilley v DMG Events Ltd [2014] EWHC 610 (IPEC).

The Claimant in the case had calculated his loss to be £798 million, a staggering amount which if in the unlikely event the Defendant had coughed up, would have made the Claimant the tenth richest person in the UK!

The claim arose from an alleged breach of contract concerning technical articles the Claimant had written for the Defendant, who had then allegedly permitted third parties to use the articles.  The Defendant made an application to strike out the claim under CPR rule 3.4(2) (b), on the grounds that it constituted an abuse of process.  The Defendant also relied on the cases of Jameel v Dow Jones & Co Inc [2005] EWCA Civ 75 and Sullivan v Bristol Film Studios Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 570, which stress the importance of proportionality and the proper use of the Court’s resources where there is only a small amount of money at stake.

Fortunately for the Defendant, the judge calculated a lower figure – £83 to be precise!  The Claimant’s calculations had been very optimistic since the damages claimed were not even remotely comparable to what the Claimant usually made in royalties.  The judge subsequently struck the claim out since it would have been disproportionate to allow it to proceed to a two day trial.

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